I finally got around to looking at the statement issued by former State Rep. and failed state senatorial candidate, Cynthia Davis, about her decision to leave the GOP and run for office on the Constitutional Party ticket. There are, as you might expect, lots of sour grapes. For instance, Davis seems aghast that political parties might show a preference for one primary candidate over another, essentially picking winners and losers before the election. (She claims less favored GOP primary candidates are not given access to vital polling information.) This observation is interesting because it suggests that Davis’ off-the-wall extremism was as disquieting to the GOP establishment as to the rest of us. I suppose nobody likes setting themselves up for ridicule.
Be that as it may, what struck me most was Davis’ new found awareness that money is the name of the game in GOP politics – although, to be fair, she strikes a “pox on both their houses” stance that, quite correctly, includes Democrats as well:
The existing political parties can’t be reformed because there are just too many special interests with too much money to allow it. When I joined the Republican Party, it was to make our state better, not to be a member of some elite social club.
There are no doubt some sour grapes here too – whenever somebody says they don’t want to join an “elite social club,” you can bet they haven’t been invited to do so – but, more importantly, one wonders just how Davis could have been involved in GOP politics for all those years without figuring out the role played by “big money.” Has she just realized that, as she puts it, “legislative priorities are defined by the largest campaign donors.” She adds, wide-eyed innocent that she is:
Giving leadership and chairmanship positions to those who donate the most money to the party is the common practice in both Washington D.C. and Jefferson City. This is similar to buying Senate seats and perverts the process of selecting the most qualified and competent people. This allows “Big Money” instead of better ideas to set the agenda.
I can’t help wondering if Davis would have been quite so bitter if she had been able to raise the money to “buy” a Senate seat? But putting aside speculation about the behavior of women scorned, what I really want to know is whether or not this means that she is actually calling for campaign finance reform? And if so, how does she reconcile this position with her membership in Missouri’s Constitutional Party? The Party’s platform explicitly states, under “Election Reform,” that:
We call for a repeal of all federal campaign finance laws (i.e. McCain-Feingold) due to their violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
So what exactly does Ms. Davis propose to do about the endemic corruption she describes, corruption she believes to be so pervasive that she can no longer be associated with the party in which she has served for at least a decade? Especially since lots of the abuse of money that she so decries is currently absolutely legal – the right-leaning judges of the Supreme Court have, after all, decided that money is speech. Does little Cynthia really think that the Constitutional Party Fairy is going to wave a wand and make all the naughty, old special interests go away? Or is she just bitching about the role of money in politics for the fun of it?